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I’ve never really noticed much of an effect from probiotics.  About a year ago I started to take them in higher dosages and I started noticing some benefits for the gut, but not much else.

As I study the immune system more and these individual probiotic species that I’m ingesting, I started thinking that there is a gap between what I’m reading and what I’m experiencing.

Probiotics are good, but reading the research, I would’ve expected more from it.

So I thought it’s time to experiment with probiotics the same way I do with other substances: take more until I feel an acute effect.

The reason I wanted to do this was that I was getting some gas from my experiments with NAG, Sialic acid, and Mannose.  I also couldn’t take NAC because I’d get gas from that, too.

I also wanted to do some experiments for inducing oral tolerance more.

My First Two Experiments: Ingesting 280 Billion Microbes

So, at first, I decided to do a little experiment and ingest 280 billion probiotic bacteria in one shot, containing 15 different strains.  This is equivalent to two bottles of your run of the mill probiotics.

My result?  I felt a bit high and blissful.  The effect was strong.

It felt something like a mix of butyrate, lactic acid, and oxytocin (produced by L Reuteri).  Indeed, these are byproducts of these bacteria.

I also got a bit itchy and red in some places, but nothing serious.

My Third Experiment: Ingesting 660 Billion Bacteria

In the first 2 experiments, I took most of the bottle of a probiotic with a smaller count of 5 billion bacteria.  There were also some confounding variables.

I waited maybe a month between this and the last two experiments.

This time I took 10 capsules of a probiotic with 66 billion bacteria in each pill.  This equals 660 billion bacteria.  I made sure there were no confounding variables this time.

To take the amount that I took, you’d have to take 132 pills of your standard 5 billion species probiotic.  Many probiotics have only 1 billion bacteria, which means you’d have to take 660 pills of this to get the dosage I got.

I also had some gas from over-consuming these dried Blueberries (a pound) and too much brussels sprouts (a pound).  It could also be because I was experimenting with lots of chocolate in the preceding days, which makes my gut act up.

Anyway, the effect was the same as the first two times, but stronger.  It was incredibly relaxing and made me feel really good.  It’s an incredible anti-depressant.

I experienced cognitive sensations the next day was pretty powerful.  Any stronger and it would’ve turned into a headache.

There were the same sensations in my skin as well.  I felt a bit of intestinal discomfort for an hour, but this went away.

In all three experiments, all gas went away when challenged with gas promoting supplements and food.

Honestly, most of the effects took place while I was sleeping because it hit me strongly an hour before bed and I felt it strongly still as I woke up and the next day.  My sleep was really good.

Also, my appetite was noticeably suppressed.

While it’s relaxing, it’s also wakeful-promoting.

I also seem to tolerate lectins better (not as fatigued after).

660 billion bacteria are too much for me.  I don’t know what the long-term effects of this would be.  I’d rather take 1 pill 2X a day chronically, which I would consider a minimum effective dosage.

Well, it was important that I knew it was working and how.

My Fourth Experiment: Ingesting 2 Trillion Probiotics

I decided to get into the trillions of species.  I decided to take 20 pills of this probiotic, and it was stronger, but I didn’t notice that much of a difference than from 660 billion.

Overall, it had some good effects on mood and I thought it would be good for going out and socializing, as I felt more social.

The Takeaway

The takeaway is that you need to hit things hard.  Don’t think you will be cured by taking 1 small pill of 5 billion probiotics.

I see people that can’t function at all in the day and they’re being timid.  If your body is broken, baby steps won’t fix you.  They’re better than nothing, but bold (but safe) actions need to be taken.

I currently have no health problems I’m still hitting things hard (more to see the effects).

If you have gut problems, then slowly ramp up your probiotic usage until you get side effects or the desired effect.

Don’t be timid.

Potential Side Effects

This approach isn’t risk-free, but if done in a careful way, it’s relatively safe.

The only potential problem I see is throwing your immune system off balance more.  So make sure you take probiotics that balance your immune system the way you want it to.  This is why you should start small.

See the species you should take to lower Th1 dominance or Th2 dominance.

For myself, I just wasn’t concerned about an imbalanced immune system, but everyone is different.

I had a client who felt more than a half of a capsule of 5 billion species was too strong for her.   She reacted to every supplement she took.

If you’re in a precarious state, then your risks are greater, but your potential rewards are also greater.

Overall, though, probiotics are pretty safe.

Future Experiments

I’m going to experiment in the future with creating tolerance to eggs.  To do this, I will take megadoses of probiotics – probably the same dosage of 660 billion bacteria together with my eggs.  I will make sure to add Cod liver as well.

Recommended Probiotics

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  • Diana

    Can probiotics cure a uti? Three rounds of antibiotics aren’t working.

  • ALEX

    There are some categories of people for whom it is reported that probiotics can be dangerous, I feel as though it would be sensible to list these before promoting probiotic megadosing to all. Here’s a quote I found. I’m not a doctor.

    Since probiotics contain live microorganisms, there is a slight chance that these preparations might cause pathological infection, particularly in critically ill or severely immunocompromised patients. Probiotic strains of Lactobacillus have also been reported to cause bacteremia in patients with short-bowel syndrome, possibly due to altered gut integrity.
    Caution is also warranted in patients with central venous catheters, since contamination leading to fungemia has been reported when Saccharomyces capsules were opened and administered at the bedside.
    Lactobacillus preparations are contraindicated in persons with a hypersensitivity to lactose or milk. S. boulardii is contraindicated in patients with a yeast allergy. No contraindications are listed for bifidobacteria, since most species are considered nonpathogenic and nontoxigenic.

  • cindyc

    I took 900 billion probiotic supplement daily for a month, The probiotic was by VSL Pharmaceuticals, Inc. This was by prescription. The description of the product says it is a medical food for the management of Ulcerative Colitis and Ileal Pouch. I took it because I had to be on an anitbiotic treatment for 3 months and my gut bacteria of course was wiped out. I had no negative reaction from taking it daily. Only probiotics that contain pectin give me bad reactions.

  • cindyc

    I took 950 trillion probiotic supplement daily by VSL Pharmaceuticals, Inc. This was by prescription. The description of the product says it is a medical food for the management of Ulcerative Colitis and Ileal Pouch. I took it because I had to be on an anitbiotic treatment for 3 months and my gut bacteria of course was wiped out. I had no negative reaction from taking it daily. Only probiotics that contain pectin give me bad reactions.


    drank a whole bottle of farmhouse’s gut shot on accident. thought it was an expensive kombucha. 110 billion per serving. 10 servings per bottle. i drink kombuchas all the time. theyre 2 billion per bottle. after drinking 1.1 trillion i had diarrhea about an hour later. not other physical or mental effects.

  • Joel

    Can you post the complete recipe/way of how to do it properly?

  • FC

    Problem with kefir is, you don’t know what exactly is inside. Commertial kefir varies very much, not only from brand to brand but from batch to batch, it taste and feel very much different.
    And not all organisms are benefitial for everyone, for example S. thermophilus rises TNFa and IL-6.

  • FC

    Generally if you drink kefir, especially home made grain varity, you’re megadosing.
    1 ml can contain 10 billion CFU. Table spoon can contain 150 billion CFU.
    Kefir contain 10 to 34 probiotic species and some vitamins that they produce.
    Pills seem more like placebo to me, never felt any beneficial effects from 5 billion CFU pills.

  • mike

    Hi what about kefir and buttermilk which are mega high in probiotics and also Greek yoghurt

  • Dan

    Congrats Kyle, very encouraging post.

    You said the gastroparesis was caused by the neuropathy. I’m wondering though if it was the other way around — if the gastro caused the numbness? — especially if the probiotics helped make a difference.

    Also I’m curious which strains of probiotics did you use? I have gut motility issues as well…

  • Dan

    David — sorry — just saw your reply. And just in the last 2-3 months I slowly started adding eggs and am now able to eat one egg a day. Prior to that I think I’d bought one or two cartons of eggs in the last 5 years total!

  • Kyle

    I have an auto immune disease to. Its a type of neurological disease (very similar but never seen before) called CIDP. I threw up literally for 5 yrs. At one point had a nutritionist actually convince me “I had too much good bacteria”. Can’t believe I bought it. But in fact it was gastroparesis caused by neuropathy. I was numb but able to move until I was started on immunoglobulin infusions and guess what… 100bill probiotics. I was in a wheelchair for 3 yrs now working my ass to get my life back… Walking! I’ve seen plenty of nutritionists and all but one said go with 100 bill or you might as not do it.

  • Carol Mossa

    Unfortunately I didn’t see your original post. Please say again or let me know which probiotic you use that you were so happy with.this will be my first foray into the world of probiotics. Thank you.

  • Anders

    I do not think this is safe for the average person to do.

    I have an autoimmune disorder, but doctors still don’t understand my disease. Certain drugs and foods throw my body into a panic – vomiting, diarrhea, joint pain, flu symptoms. I am certainly a “special snowflake,” but my word of caution is still important.

    I took an “extra strength” probiotic with 100 billion CFUs. Very reputable brand, no gluten/corn/wheat/soy. I have been taking 5-30 billion CFUs for years.

    I experienced the same eosinophilia myalgia syndrome-type symptoms I had from taking L-tryptophan (also not safe due to an alternative metabolic pathway it takes to become a neurotoxin).

    There are two recent reported cases of older women suffering neurological damage from mega-dosing probiotics. They were hospitalized and are damaged for life.

    The amount of threads you will find with people describing rashes and itchiness from megadosing probiotics is disturbing.

    I went to school for the sciences and I am not claiming to be an expert. But “too much of a good thing is not a good thing” often rings true. High doses of bacteria can aggravate anyone’s immune system.

    I personally stick to the <10 billion CFU recomended dosage and no longer partake in nootropics. Our bodies are sensitive systems and both the women hospitalized were megadosing for weeks before they ended up in the hospital, in pain and paralyzed. Be weary.

  • Ronnie

    Anyone tried Progurt? One serving provides a trillion bacteria, it’s a powder so you just disperse in water or juice, no need to take 20 or 30 capsules to achieve a megadose. I’ve used it for a few weeks to combat bloating and nourish microflora, seems to be doing its job!

  • Dan


    What was the probiotic — the 280 billion dose — you took that gave you such bliss and such a high?

    Thanks in advance.

  • James Wagner

    It can and has though. It can be incredibly dangerous for those experiencing hypokalemia. I don’t care one way or another, it’s obviously not heroin, helps a lot of people. But it can also make some people very ill, I’d recommend you thoroughly investigate what little we know about the cannibinoid system at the very least before pushing it.

  • Lucian Toma

    Good bacteria also binds the pesticides and other toxins from the gut. So we lose lot of them anyway.

  • Kyle

    Amen! I’m taking probiotics for health not feelings. Pot is the perfect medicine, hence the reason is still TOTALLY ILLEGAL, (atleast the federal government says so) big pharm doesn’t want to lose its hold on America. I could, not joking, come off 5 medications I’m legally prescribed. All of those medicines(poison to my body) can kill you with an overdose. No big pharm is getting rich by people overdosing on opiates/opiods with Narcan. No even legal in a lot of states for drugs to get inside they overdose. I can talk about addicts, I was one. Clean 10 yrs 7 months 19 days and I’m finishing college to be an Addiction Counselor. POT IS NOT A DRUG AND DOES NOT KILL(and can’t)

  • Ibsnidb1

    Different species of bacteria placed together will compete for space
    and try to dominate each other, resulting in competitive exclusion by
    the dominant species. In vitro studies have shown that when you place
    different species together, the dominant (strongest) species will usually
    produce bacteriocins that kill closely related species. For example, one
    study in a prestigious microbiology journal showed that a certain strain
    of L. acidophilus produced bacteriocins (antibiotics that work against
    same, or closely related species by adsorption to receptors on the
    target cells) that inhibited L. delbrueckii, L. bulgaricus, L. fermentum,
    Lactococcus lactis, and Enterococcus fecalis.21 Look at the list of
    ingredients, and you’ll see that many probiotic companies package these
    same species together all in one bottle or capsule. – listen to your gut by jini patel thomson.
    Basically the desired effect if diminished when you have a wide spectrum of strains. I believe what it is saying is that its just not as successful. If you had ingested super strain probiotics maybe the results would have been different. Anywho just a thought wish you the best in trial and error research, its very helpful tp anyone looking for answers and suggestions!

  • PixieDust

    Hi Claire,

    I would take care of constipation first. I hadn’t realized that was an issue until I started experimenting w. probiotics.
    Constipation was troubling me as well when I started taking probiotics. Some formulas would make it worse, some would help a little. A few months and experiments later, here’s what helps me:
    – magnesium: small doses maybe 25-50 mg taken every day, helps relax the muscles and the body overall. Chloride from Amazon works for me, oxide works as well. I love Dr. Best magnesium glycinate. I would ramp up the magnesium until I feel comfortable. It takes a few days/weeks until you get a good level in the body.
    – water, obviously – I get into trouble if I don’t drink enough
    – prunes: I buy dry organic ones and eat 2-3 if I need to. Apricots (fresh or dry) can help, I am still experimenting with these
    – flaxseed flour: the fiber helps a lot
    – Danone blueberry yogurt with 1-2 teaspoons of chia seeds

  • Jason

    Hi Joseph,
    I have suffered from CFS for 15 years. Can you recommend a probiotic if one is TH2 dominant? I’m looking at Prescript Assist,but am unsure if it would be appropriate for Th2 dominance?

    1. Natcha M

      Hi Jason,
      You should consult a practitioner because the picture is always more than what it seems. Many people with fibromyalgia have SIBO, which makes supplementation with any probiotic other than Prescript Assist and Megaspore Biotic a bad idea. I personally am TH2 dominant and have been recommended this product: Genestra HMF Forte. Also, NFH Probio SAP is good, too, because it has quite a few strains that breaks down histamine. However, I have never personally experienced any significant shift from supplementation with any probiotics. I still take them, but I don’t expect them to cure anything.

      1. Jason

        Thanks Natcha,
        I was hoping that prescript assist would be ok to take. I tested negative for SIBO. I will have to look into Megaspore. Those other two supplements actually have certain strains that can increase Th2 cells according to a page on this site. Prescript assist sounds like my best move at the present time. Do you take Prescript Assist? Any feedback?

        1. Natcha M

          I have taken Prescript Assist and no effect whatsoever.

          1. Jason

            Really? I have read such great reviews on different sites. I have some good success with Primal Defence for gut issues,but am not sure if it’s safe to keep taking due to the th2 dominance.

            reply icon
          2. Natcha M

            That’s just my personal opinion and experience though. It differs for everyone. One thing for sure is that just probiotic supplementation alone won’t solve the problem. You need to look at other things as well.

            reply icon
        2. Claire

          Joe, please, why is it that probiotics seem to cause me constipation. I do feel well (normal) emotionally when I take them, but the constipation is terrible and stop them every time. I have taken Dr. Mercola’s, the brand that Dr. Perlmutter does and others more and less expensive.

          Any suggestions are most welcome.

          1. Natcha M

            Maybe you are just sensitive to those strains. Possibly (the most likely explanation) is that you have SIBO and introducing these bacteria make it worse. Also, people who have SIBO usually feel worse in response to prebiotics and many brands of prebiotics make it worse. Just don’t megadose the probiotics if you don’t do well with them. ~Team SelfHacked

            reply icon
  • Steve

    Hi Joseph, i make home made saurkraut. Allegelly, 2 ounces of home fermented sauerkraut has more probiotics than a bottle of 100 count probiotic capsules. I get a real sense of well being when I eat this stuff. Just put chopped cabbage in a sealed container with regular salt, topped up with fresh water, then leave. Longer the better

  • Bhaskar

    Hi Joseph,
    I have been on Ads and antopsych. drugs for about 3 years. I stopped prozac Aug,15 when I thought I was doing ok and not need it in job. But the results were I end up leaving the job.
    I had various events where I ended up in scuffle while on effexor or prozac or paxil.

    So I tried to quite medicine in Dec,15 C.T and 3 months later I saw a doctor which has put me on Sertraline. I again stopped sertraline.
    Now I am off medicines for two months. Now my life is completely halted with lot of anger, brain fog and other symptoms.

    In this period I tried to apply for job but I was not able to frame and answer. So I am not having one right now.

    Now please help me if you can. And how can I contact you if I need your help for consultation?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen
  • Chelsea

    Do you have any experiments with acne cures? I’ve tried what feels like everything.

  • Jon Busch

    Your erudite posts continue to amaze me. From this one I gather that you know a good bit more than most about probiotics. I have read that the gut contributes dopamine to the nervous system. Could that be part of the euphoria you and readers have found from megadoses of probiotics?
    Is there any of gut bacteria that could be singled out as producing dopamine?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Good Q

  • deejayvj

    Another way to megadose (cheaply): probiotic enema

  • Mallory

    This thread is hilarious! Getting high off of probiotics! You should try making 24 hour yogurt with raw milk- it has over a trillion Per Serving If you make it properly. I may down a handful of my perscript assist to get a happy high. Not sure if it will work but you all make it sound so tempting.;-)

  • Dee

    Hello Joseph M. Cohen,
    Have you decided to take the Kombucha Mother? And if so what was this result? And if not, why? Thanks!!

  • Kamille

    Anybody have any idea of how long it is safe to megadose on probiotics? I am currently taking 500 billion-900 billion

  • Ole

    Ive been megadosing probiotics for a while and im concerned with the bacteria going elsewhere than the gut. Not sure if i have any negative reaction to it but i don’t have much of a positive one either.

    Your thoughts?

  • David

    Have you attempted to build tolerance to eggs? Either in conjunction with mega dosing probiotics or through egg shells or egg shell supplements? Just curious how it went.

  • Jim

    Small question about the Lee Swanson Probiotics. I live in a foreign country and would need to wait 3-5 days for it to arrive. It obviously won’t be refrigerated on its journey. However, I’ve heard that most probiotics need to be refrigerated. Does this one as well?

  • Fritz.Harber

    Interesting. Sorry for my ignorance, but what happens when you digest more than 50g of Hi maize at once? What happens for the extra hi maize that your body can not digest? Will you get its calories?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      you excrete it

      1. Fritz.Harber

        Did you find what is the maximum amount you can process in one day ~15 hours? (I think you wrote somewhere that you can do up to 120g a day if you separate to small dosages every 2 hours but Im not sure and cant find it)

  • vera

    Took 1 trillion bacteria (seanson brand) three days ago with 270 g hi maize in a period of 4 hours. Next day – got an extremely strong high ; a mixture of bliss and deep love and complete panic. Tried several drugs in my life but this was on a different level. It felt pike my brain was constantly trying to decide whether it is having a good or bad trip. I would not try it again but the good thing was thst three days later I still feel like I am 70 percent less sensetive to lectins.

    1. vera

      1 trillion was arounf 16 pills of swanson brand. I did feel like my skin became really dry and itchy. Took imit with three pills of lactoferrin to isolate the type of bacteria I wanted

    2. Joseph M. Cohen

      Thanks. Your gut isn’t going to process more than maybe 50g of hi-maize at a time.

      Can you imagine the guy that took 30 pills and didn’t feel anything, lol. Probably a troll.

      1. Mark

        Lol I heard that. Also, I have never been called a troll so I don’t know what to make of this 😛

        I did another experiment with a different brand which had 100 Billion CFUs per capsule. Took 20 and didn’t really notice anything. I would love to try again but I may have to spend a lot more money to notice anything :/

        1. Joseph M. Cohen

          Lol, just take pot if you want to get relaxed and can’t feel anything from this.

        2. Steve

          Geez your not doing something right I suppose. Hmm, try a bunch on antacids to knock down the stomachs aggressiveness, then Follow with a resistance starch and a trillion count Ensure nothing touches your saliva If that doesn’t work you must be getting a bad batch or you have an amazing amount of colonized bacteria killing all the new guys.
          Good luck homie.

  • Ad

    Heah Jo. Another interesting post (aren’t they always :-)).

    So I ordered some VSL3 last week and it arrived on Friday. Decided to go for a double dose (900 billion), as I have had a pesky cold for a few weeks and am aware of immune system connection to the gut. I must say I did notice and improved sense of mood and generally happier.

    Yesterday prior to the gym I had a single dose and again could feel the positive effects. Actually took it alongside my preworkout.

    I’m hoping and fairly optimistic that it will be able to knock this cold on the head. Will report back in a few days

    1. Joseph M. Cohen


  • Mark

    I have tried 30 capsules X 60 billion CFU to little effect. I started with 10, tried again with 20 and then finally 30. Any ideas?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      What are you trying to accomplish? Try 30 capsules on an empty stomach with lots of water first thing in the morning and don’t eat for 2 hours and get back to me 24 hours later.

      1. Mark

        All experiments were done on an empty stomach.

        I wanted to feel blissful and high like you experienced. Also, anxiolytic, anti-depressant, and cognitive effects.

        1. Joseph M. Cohen

          Mileage may vary. I think not feeling any difference with 30 pills will not be common. Which supplements have you ever felt a difference from?

  • Sandrine

    Last week I took 5 pills of the Swanson probiotic around 3pm and felt amazing for the rest of the day 🙂 I felt really positive and had much more energy.
    I was upset and sad that day so that really helped, thank you !
    I am a bit intolerant to eggs too so I am curious to know if it would work.

    You mentioned taking black seed oil and cod liver oil with probiotics, can I please ask what the benefits are ? Thanks !!

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Thanks for the feedback! Read my oral tolerance post.

  • aribadabar

    Tried your experiment with 5 caps of the suggested brand followed by 3 more ~2 hrs later – nothing too noticeable to report.

    Some slight random itchiness which may or may not be related.

    That being said, that has been my daily 1-cap probiotic supplement for almost 1 month so the intestinal microbiota has already been somewhat similar to the one introduced with this experiment.

    How long has it taken to start feeling the strong effects?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      It takes maybe 5 hours. Try 15 capsules and report back. Keep upping the dosage until you take 30 capsules. If you still don’t notice anything then that will be very interesting.

      Realize that the noticeable cognitive effects lasted for up to 48 hours by me.

  • Samuel

    Have you tried Bacillus Coagulans? Its spore forming and survives well, Thorne Research sells a good one and top review on Amazon says to ferment it. I’d imagine fermenting in sugar water or milk would increase the quantity to significant amounts.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      yup, I’ve taken 60 billion of that one alone. No noticeable effect. The recommended brand has 1 billion bacteria of B coagulans in each capsule.

  • Miodrag Milić

    Tbh that is still not very high and number of strains is very low. Even kefir has around 50 bacterial strains. Fecal transplant as ultimate probiotic clearly shows enormous healing potential for the gut.

    Vsl 3 contains more in 2 caps.

    U need to redo it correctly.

    Take home message is that mainstream probiotics r useless

  • eliegauthey

    A few month ago, because I had a lot of kombucha mother and didn’t want to waste them, I ate them.

    I felt as you described above. High and fully awake.

    Do you know a way of knowing how many probiotics there are inside the mother (and how many different kind) ?

    Thank you.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      no, I might try that

      1. Heath

        Did you ever try this?

        I’m curious as I have noticed significant benefit from probiotics for by mood and alleviating my chronic low level fatigue (makes me feel downright energetic actually).

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